This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 18/11

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The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup brings the latest appointments, funding updates and industry partnerships.

Job moves

authID.ai, a provider of biometric identity solutions, has appointed Neepa Patel to its board of directors. She joins seven other directors with expertise in IT consulting, operations, risk, accounting, and financial services. She will help the authID.ai team further expand its portfolio of biometric identity security solutions into new industries and geographies.

House of Pilati, a European and Middle Eastern design company that creates one-off collectables, has unveiled Lars Peter Jung-Larsen as CEO. House of Pilati’s founder Patrick Pilati will continue in his role as the company’s creative director.

UK fintech Monevo has appointed Kelli Fielding, MD of consumer interactive for TransUnion, to its board. The appointment follows TransUnion’s investment in the personal credit platform. Fielding joins the existing board at Monevo, which includes Greg Cox, Monevo’s CEO and founder as well as Anuj Bhatnagar, CFO of Monevo’s parent company, Quint Group, and Mike Ransom, Quint Group’s MD.

Financial software supplier Ideagen has unveiled a pair of new hires. Louise Tommasi becomes the company’s first chief people officer, while David Moore is named chief product officer. Moore joins Ideagen from Blue Prism, while Tommasi has previously worked at Speedo and Incora.

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Ideagen hires Louise Tommasi and David Moore
More job moves

AXA Gulf, recently acquired by GIG (Gulf Insurance Group), has formed a new board of directors. Led by Jamal Al Hazeem as chairman, as well as vice chairman Khalid Saud Al Hassan, other members include Paul Adamson, Bijan Khosrowshahi, Jean Cloutier, Farid Saber and Osama Kishk.

Meanwhile, ION has named Robert Cioffi as global head of equities product management. Prior to joining ION, he spent 15 years at UBS Investment Bank. Cioffi will develop talent, forge cross-functional partnerships, and promote cultures of engagement, collaboration and transparency at ION Markets.

TMF Group, a financial services firm, has appointed Flavia Micilotta as director, ESG solutions. Micilotta brings almost 20 years of experience in sustainability, working to incorporate ESG considerations and decision-making into business and financial activities.

Partnerships

Payment orchestration platform IXOPAY partners with AI fraud prevention specialist Fraugster. Together they give online merchants access to fraud prevention, compliance and revenue uplift solutions via a single API. Online marketplaces and i-gaming companies will also be able to go-live faster without historical data and benefit from full chargeback protection via a no-code integration.

Identity verification leader Veriff has forged a new partnership with international payroll and compliance platform Deel to enable secure and compliant hiring, onboarding and payroll for more than 4,500 organisations in over 150 countries. Since Deel also processes payments, Veriff helps the platform meet know your customer requirements to ensure users avoid fraud.

Bitstamp partners with LHV Bank to offer crypto trading. LHV already offers its customers bonds, shares and other investment services and views crypto trading as the ‘next logical step’. It has allowed customers to invest in cryptocurrency-related ETFs via certain investment accounts since 2018.

Bank North, the UK regional business bank, has signed a multi-year licence deal with Vermeg, a provider of regulatory reporting solutions. It will uses Vermeg’s flagship regulatory reporting platform, AgileREPORTER. Bank North starts lending to SMEs later this year with the opening of its first lending ‘Pod’ in Manchester.

Mastercard has partnered with Home Remitt to help migrants living in South Africa send money in near real-time ‘back home’. The new remittance service uses Mastercard Cross-Border Services to deliver international money transfers, including bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash. Currently, pick up locations include India, Bangladesh, Kenya and Pakistan.

Australian fintech Openpay has unveiled new retail partnerships with Maplin, Snug, Tradeprices and Junior Bambinos. The interest-free payment solution provider plans to expand beyond retail and healthcare and automotive markets.

Further collaborations

Daylight, the US LGBTQ+ digital banking platform, is using Alloy’s API-based decisioning platform to automate identity verification during customer onboarding. After a customer opens an account with Daylight, Alloy’s Transaction Monitoring continuously reviews their financial activity and flags risky behaviour.

LPA, the capital markets technology and advisory firm, has enhanced its ESG consulting services through a partnership with Evercity. The digital platform for impact measurement and investment launched at the UN Global Climate Innovation Lab during COP26 in Glasgow. LPA, together with Evercity, will help financial institutions keep abreast of regulatory changes, implement new requirements and track progress against ESG goals.

Boost.ai has expanded its customer relationship with Michigan State University Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU). Leveraging Boost.ai’s highly scalable platform, MSUFCU has implemented two virtual agents that work together to support both internal and external service needs. MSUFCU is also exploring additional uses for the Boost.ai platform.

SambaNova Systems and OTP Group have forged a strategic partnership to build the fastest AI supercomputer in Europe. Together, they will deploy a multi-rack AI system, built on SambaNova Dataflow-as-a-Service GPT. The system will be provided as a national AI resource to the public sector, private industry, and higher education in cooperation with the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (ITM) of Hungary.

NPCI International Payments and local payments firm PPRO have agreed to partner to expand and empower international growth of India’s digital payments ecosystem. The agreement aims at expanding RuPay card and UPI acceptance across PPRO’s global clients. This partnership will also drive NIPL’s continued expansion into foreign markets and add India to PPRO’s local payment method coverage map.

Funding and investments

Sedric, an AI-based compliance platform for fintechs, has raised $3.5million in seed funding to increase consumer protection and transform fintech compliance. Led by StageOne Ventures, Sedric will use the funding to support its global expansion and onboard its growing base of new fintech customers.

Oxbury Bank, the tech-driven agriculture bank, has secured £6million additional investment from technology investor Hambro Perks. It has also reported strong lending and deposit growth in its first nine months of trading. Oxbury has achieved over £100million in committed lending to farm businesses, as well as over £120million in retail and business deposits.

Meanwhile, fintech Kafene has secured $75million in additional debt and equity to accelerate company growth. The package included a $50million credit facility from Credit Suisse as well as $10million from Hudson Cove Capital Management. Plus, an additional $15million was added to Kafene’s original Series A investment, bringing the total to $30million. The investment helps Kafene scale its retail footprint and significantly expand delivery of its financing platform to underbanked US consumers.

Ula, a B2B e-commerce marketplace in Indonesia, secured an additional $23.1million funding from Tiger Global. Binny Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart, also participated to complete Ula’s Series B funding round. The fresh fund infusion follows the $87million round co-led by Prosus Ventures, Tencent and B-Capital in October.

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Ula supports underserved retailer communities
Further investment updates

Pixie, the operating system for small accounting firms, has raised £2.25million from Triple Point Ventures, Seedcamp and MMC Ventures. The funding will let Pixie accelerate its vision of creating the operating system for accounting and bookkeeping firms. The raise was led by Triple Point Ventures, with participation from Seedcamp, MMC Ventures and serial entrepreneurs and angel investors.

AI Rudder, a voice AI startup based in Singapore, has raised $10million in a Series A funding round. Co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Sequoia China Seed Fund, alongside existing investors Zhen Fund, IMO Ventures, Zizhu Xiaomiao Fund and Huashan Capital. The funding will be used to further propel the company’s growth and expansion to more countries in Asia Pacific and beyond.

Early stage venture fund Leo Capital plans to launch a new fund following two successful funds. Over the past three years, Leo Capital has raised $106million for two funds from investors around the world seeking technology centric opportunities in India and Southeast Asia, such as fintechs.

Company updates

VTB Bank, the second largest bank in Russia, has developed and implemented a new cloud platform VTB.Cloud. The VTB.Cloud platform has received state registration with the Federal Service for Intellectual Property and is included in the register of domestic software of the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

Singapore-based crypto lending firm Hodlnaut has unveiled a new initiative to waive off the withdrawal fee of any one withdrawal made by users. It is part of the platform’s goal to let users maximise the potential of their earnings on their crypto assets easily and conveniently. Hodlnaut users will be eligible for one free withdrawal per calendar month.

IDnow, a platform-as-a-service ID verification provider, has grown eightfold year-over-year in the UK market. It said it is now concentrating on sharpening its technology and further scaling up its UK team as the rising demand for KYC solutions in the UK grows.

Fintech Saudi, an initiative launched by the Saudi Central Bank and the Capital Market Authority to support the growth of the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia will hold its fourth Fintech Tour from Sunday 28 November to Thursday 9 December 2021. Fintech Tour is the region’s largest cluster of fintech events.

Digital bank Chase is offering three per cent cashback on Amazon.co.uk spend until the end of 2021. The Chase current account already offers customers one per cent cashback on debit card spend for 12 months. Customers must activate the offer in the Chase app via the Rewards hub.

Mergers and acquisitions

nCino signs definitive agreement to acquire SimpleNexus in a deal worth $1.2billion. nCino and SimpleNexus will work together to continue innovating for the independent mortgage banks community while accelerating the adoption of the SimpleNexus homeownership platform by US banks and credit unions.

  • Claire works across print and online as Editor for The Fintech Times.

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